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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A908-W589



Release Date: December 23, 2015



Topic: Voice of America's "Issues and Opinions" Program: Wei Jingsheng Summarizes Chinese Politics and Human Rights in the Year of 2015, and Also Comments on the Case of Pu Zhiqiang



Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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Voice of America's "Issues and Opinions" Program: Wei Jingsheng Summarizes Chinese Politics and Human Rights in the Year of 2015, and Also Comments on the Case of Pu Zhiqiang

-- by Liya of VOA

Last updated 2015.12.23 22:08



Washington -

On Tuesday, a court in Beijing sentenced Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang by charging him for "inciting ethnic hatred" and " disturbing public order."  Using Pu Zhiqiang's "pleading guilty to repentance" as a reason, the court gave Pu a lighter three-year sentence, suspended for three years.


Wei Jingsheng, the chairman of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, thinks that the sentence of Pu Zhiqiang was lenient illustrates a very important point, that intervention from the international community still can play a significant role.  He said Pu Zhiqiang's sentence was lighter than expected, even by the expectation of his lawyer.  Wei Jingsheng noted that during Pu Zhiqiang's trial, the diplomats of the United States and European countries in China had expressed concerns about his case right outside the court, which caused a lot of pressure on the Chinese authorities.  He speculated the ruling of Pu Zhiqiang's three-year sentence with three-years suspension might be determined right in the court.  He thinks that it might be a feature of Xi Jinping, who cares more about the views of the international community, somewhat reminiscent of the Jiang Zemin era.  In comparison, the Hu Jintao era was more rigid and would have carried out a decision that was fixed in advance.


Mo Shaoping, one of Pu Zhiqiang's defense lawyers, proposed 4 possible results including suspension of Pu's sentence during his interview with VOA before the court ruling.


Although the defense team made the argument of innocence for him, Pu Zhiqiang has expressed a will not to appeal the ruling.  Wei Jingsheng thinks that could be a compromise between Pu Zhiqiang and the authorities, because being sentenced to three years but suspended for three years means that he does not really have to be in a jail.  Wei Jingsheng, who was jailed for 19 years, said that for people in prison it is very important to keep from going to jail, so in choosing not to appeal Pu Zhiqiang has his reasons.


Wei Jingsheng, this veteran of the pro-democracy movement, analyzed that the lenient sentence Pu Zhiqiang received and the previous commuted sentence of Gao Yu might be related to their attitude.  In comparison, Guo Feixiong, the pro-democracy activist in Guangzhou who just received a heavy sentence, might have suffered from his stubborn attitude of not admitting guilt.  That is because this type of political case is decided by the administrative authorities, rather than by the courts.  In addition, he believes that there was less intervention from the international community regarding Guo Feixiong's case.


Wei Jingsheng's Direct Views of Chinese Politics and Human Rights in 2015


The Year of 2015 is about to end.  In the past year, every section of China's society was heavily controlled by the Communist regime, including the Internet, media, the creation of arts, and religion; civil rights such as the right to free speech were further restricted.  Why is Xi Jinping grabbing the totem of totalitarianism harder and harder?  How much is this highly suppressive rule going to help the Chinese Communist Parties' one-party dictatorship?  Today we specially invited Mr. Wei Jingsheng, the Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, to this program's studio to share his views regarding these issues.


Wei Jingsheng thinks that 2015 is the worst year of China's human rights condition since 1989.  It is even worse than the year he was put on trial in court.  He said, when he was tried in court back then there were at least some sort of legal restraints.  However, now the rule of law is completely ignored in China, with torture in prisons, the trials being very casual like showcases, even the defense attorneys being arrested because the government was not happy with them.  Wei Jingsheng, who was jailed for a long period of time for participating the Democracy Wall movement, said that back then when he was a political prisoner, the living conditions were worse than now, and worse than those of inmates jailed for criminal offenses.  But he was not tortured or beaten up with electric batons.


In 2015, the Chinese authorities unleashed the most intense crackdown on human rights attorneys to date.  Large number of human rights attorneys, employees of law firms and human right activists were detained, arrested, questioned and restricted in personal freedom.  Why does the Chinese authorities target attorneys?


Wei Jingsheng thinks that this is because human rights lawyers are becoming more and more important, that they are not only involved in civil cases, but also involved in the power struggles inside the Chinese Communist Party.  In his view, the arrests and convictions of human rights lawyers are forms of intimidation from the Chinese government, in order to maintain the "the Party is the boss" situation.


Some U. S. scholars on Chinese legal issues think the crackdown of human rights lawyers is a clear signal by the Chinese authorities that the government will no longer tolerate these lawyers using high profile cases and media pressure to improve China's judicial system and protect the vulnerable groups within the system.  This is because Chinese Communist Party took their action as a challenge to the Communist Party's bottom line.


Wei Jingsheng thinks that the scale of the cases that these human rights lawyers took in the recent two years are not greater than in Hu Jintao's era, but Xi Jinping is still not satisfied with such situations and hopes to go back to the 1970s where the lawyers actually defended for the government. What bothers Xi Jinping the most is that the intervention of the lawyers prevents him from cracking down on the dissidents against him.


Regarding why Xi Jinping has intensified the persecution against dissidents in the past three years since he took power, Wei Jingsheng thinks that it reflects the intensified social conflict in China.  He said that in the past, the average Chinese were just jealous of rich people with "red eyes", but now the average Chinese hate the rich and powerful.  With the intensified social conflict and internal power struggles of the communist party, Xi Jinping feels that he cannot control the situation anymore.  Wei Jingsheng thinks that Xi Jiping's crackdown on human rights lawyers is a measure for him to gain more control.


Regarding the contradiction between such a crackdown and the rule of law, Wei Jingsheng thinks that Xi Jinping's "rule of law" is to obey his order.  It is a tool for Xi Jinping to maintain his rule, instead of a shield for average Chinese to defend themselves.  Wei thinks that Xi Jinping is used to the Mao Zedong era, even though his family was also persecuted by Mao.  Wei said that a lot of victims of persecution would suffer the Stockholm syndrome and then would use the same measures to treat others and use strong power to suppress dissidents.  Wei thinks this is the reason that Xi is somehow different from his predecessors after he took the power.  Wei Jingsheng thinks that in one aspect, it shows Xi's ideology; meanwhile it also shows that Xi is in a very dangerous situation -- just as when a cat or a dog gets cornered, he might put all his eggs in one single basket.


Wei Jingsheng thinks that Xi Jinping's initiation of an anti-corruption movement and hosting the "World Congress on Marxism" and "World Internet Conference", etc., are copied from Mao Zedong, in an attempt to control the ideology of thought of the Chinese, in order to rule the nation with ease.  However, Wei thinks that at least Mao had some ability to trick 800 million Chinese then; but Xi does not have such skill now.  In addition, back then, the Communist Party just took the power and the average people had a limited understanding of its motives; they believed in the Communist regime and were willing to followed the Party.  But now the average Chinese do not trust the Communist Party at all.  Therefore, even though Xi's regime is using much more modern measures, it still cannot accomplish the goal of controlling peoples' minds; the result will only cause a bigger chaos for China.


Wei Jingsheng also analyzed why some Western scholars' theory that economical freedom would eventually lead to political freedom would not work in China and why in recent years the international community pays less attention on Chinese human rights condition.


Although the investment conditions became worse for Western businesses in China after Xi took power, Wei Jingsheng still thinks that due to the importance of foreign business to China, Xi Jinping has attempted to repair the relationship between the Chinese government and the Western capitalists with a good amount of contracts signed during his recent visits to the USA and Great Britain.  Xi is still carrying out Deng Xiaoping's strategy, that is to buy off Western capitalists and let them speak on behalf of the Chinese government to prevent the international society from paying attention to China's human rights.  Wei thinks that although this measure may pay off to a certain effect, the current global trend is so different than twenty years ago so it will not be very successful.


As the Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, Wei Jingsheng also talked about the work done by overseas pro-democracy groups that have promoted democracy and human rights in China, which includes gaining the international community's attention towards China's democracy and human rights, and also stimulating the Chinese peoples' thought by introducing viewpoints to China through all kinds of media.  Only when the Chinese people start to wake up will there be hope in China.


Wei Jingsheng also responded to the criticisms that overseas pro-democracy groups are not united, and not really responding to peoples' needs.  He said some overseas pro-activists may hold different views on some issues.  But this is not strange as everyone has his or her own thoughts.  However, every one us has the same goals to work toward the direction to promote democracy and human rights in China and make the Communist Party step down.  He said, in this perspective overseas democracy groups are united.  Regarding arguments within the democracy camp, he said they were expressed in a democratic manner, which is much better than the Communist Party.

During the show, Wei Jingsheng also interacted with viewers and audiences through many phone calls -- he answered various questions and responded some of their opinions.



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(The Wei Jingsheng Foundation is grateful to Yi Shi for his translation of this report and his other contributions to this Foundation.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A908-W589



Release Date: December 23, 2015



Topic: Voice of America's "Issues and Opinions" Program: Wei Jingsheng Summarizes Chinese Politics and Human Rights in the Year of 2015, and Also Comments on the Case of Pu Zhiqiang



Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 丽雅

最后更新 2015.12.23 22:08










尽管浦志强的辩护律师团队对他做出了无罪的辩护,但是浦志强表示对判决不上诉。魏京生认为,这可能是浦志强与当局之间的妥协,因为判三缓三意味着他 可以不蹲监狱了。曾经入狱19年的魏京生说,对于在监狱里的人来说,能够不蹲监狱是很重要的,所以浦志强选择不上诉也有他的道理。








魏京生认为,2015年是自1989年以来中国人权状况最糟糕的一年,甚至比他当年受审时还要倒退。他说,他当年受审时多少还有一些法律的约束,而现在完全无法无天,监狱里实施酷刑,审判很随意,甚至时不时发生因为对辩护律师不满而把他们抓起来的案例。因为参与西单民主墙运动而被判处长期监禁的魏京 生说,他们作为政治犯当时在监狱里的生活待遇可能没有现在好,比当时的普通刑事犯的待遇要低,但是没有遭受电棍殴打等酷刑。








































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